February 18th, 2020

Tikka T3 and T3x — Value, Performance, Upgradability

Tikka T3 rifle Competition Machine Pre-Fit barrel Criterion

In a recent Forum thread, one member asked for recommendations for a factory rifle with a good action and trigger, under $600.00. Many respondents recommended a Tikka T3 (or newer T3X), and we concur. These won’t run with a $2500 custom, but for a hunting or varminting rig, they offer good bang for the buck with a very nice action. The last Tikka T3 we tried, a .308 Win with 24″ barrel, easily shot sub-MOA groups with factory ammo.

The original Tikka T3 and newer T3x actions are rigid, robust, and well-crafted. They cycle smoothly and have a short 75° bolt lift. The bolt features a Sako-style extractor, with angled-leading-edge bolt lugs for smooth lock-up. These T3/T3x rifles offer smooth-running actions, easy sub-MOA accuracy with good ammo, crisp triggers, and ultra-reliable detachable box magazines. The Tupperware stocks aren’t super-rigid, but they are comfortable and easy to handle.

If you are looking for a hunting rifle, the Tikka T3/T3x is a smart choice, offering good performance for the price (which starts at $569.00 for the T3X Lite version). The current T3x series is offered in a wide selection of chamberings, from .204 Ruger up to the large magnums.

Tikka T3X UPR SHOT Show

We were impressed with the new Tikka T3x UPR rifle we saw at SHOT Show 2020 We liked the stock very much, and thought this was a very versatile gun that could be used for target shooting off bipod, hunting, even PRS, given its detachable magazine. The stock is very ergonomic and feels good. Tikka states the UPR’s stock “features an extra layer of carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass for increased rigidity and accuracy.”

Video Owner’s Review of standard model T3X with polymer stock:

Tikka T3 Upgrades — Barrels, Stocks, and Chassis Systems

Once you acquire a Tikka T3 there are many interesting upgrades available. First, you can improve accuracy and consistency with a pre-fit barrel from Criterion. There are also many chassis systems that fit Tikkas. In fact you can even get an Eliseo Chassis so you can shoot Palma matches F-TR competitions, or tactical/practical matches.

Criterion Pre-Fit Barrels for Tikka T3/T3x

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels

We have always liked Tikka actions, and now there is a great re-barreling option for Tikka T3/T3x owners. Criterion Barrels Inc. (CBI), makers of “pre-fit” barrels for Savage, Remington, and Rem-clone actions, also crafts Tikka pre-fits. These pre-chambered barrels for Tikka T3 actions will be headspaced with a barrel nut, just like a Savage.

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels
Click image for full-screen version

Tikka T3/T3x pre-fit barrels are sold through Solid Accuracy, a respected Texas-based outfit that sells high-end scopes, stocks, barrels and other rifle components. Price is $461-$485 with various contours and lengths available. Order HERE.

Competition Machine Chassis for Tikka T3

Eliseo Competition Tubegun T3

At SHOT Show, we saw some tactical shooters admiring the smooth Tikka T3 action and crisp trigger. They liked the action but they told us they wished they could get the T3 action in a configuration similar to the Ruger Precision Rifle. Well folks, there is a way to build a Tikka T3-based tactical/practical rig.

Eliseo Competition Tubegun T3

Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine offers a tubegun chassis for Tikka T3 actions in both Target and Tactical versions. The T3 kit is set up for AICS short action magazines. This is a “no gunsmithing” installation — no modifications to the action are required and the chassis kit works with the factory T3 trigger and safety. Along with the new Target and Tactical versions, a lower-cost Light-Weight Hunter T3 Chassis is also offered which accepts most AR-type buttstock assemblies.

Full Tactical Upgrade for Tikka T3

Osprey Rifles Tikka T3 Tactical Third Eye Chassis Stock Cerakote Camo

Tikkas are boring, nondescript hunting rifles right? Wrong. Check out this Tikka T3 tactical with “attitude”. For the British Shooting Show a while back, the folks at Osprey Rifles placed a Tikka T3 action into a modern modular chassis: “A standard factory Tikka T3 was fully Cerakoted and dropped into a Third Eye Tactical chassis stock which also had the Cerakote treatment.”

Click Photos to see full-screen version.
Osprey Rifles Tikka T3 Tactical Third Eye Chassis Stock Cerakote Camo

This T3 Chassis can be ordered through Osprey Rifles in the UK. The latest chassis stock system from Third Eye Tactical is currently available for both the Rem 700 short action and the Tikka T3.

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February 18th, 2020

RCBS Reloading Videos — How to Load Better Ammo Safely

RCBS reloading equipment instruction video series chargemaster progressive rock chucker press case prep

RCBS makes some of the most rugged and durable reloading products you can buy. The RCBS Rock Chucker press is legendary — for good reason. The Editor uses one that has been in my family over twenty years. I also own an RCBS 2000 progressive press that has loaded many thousands of rounds, and features the excellent APS strip priming system. RCBS is serious about reloading, so this company has created a very complete series of instructional videos showing reloading precedures and equipment. You’ll find over 60 videos on the RCBS Video Resources Page and RCBS YouTube Channel.

We encourage readers to check out the RCBS Videos. They can help you master the basics of handloading — case prep, priming, sizing, and bullet seating. In addition, these videos can help you select the right equipment for your loading bench. Videos show presses, case tumblers, ultrasonic cleaning machines, powered case prep centers, and more.

Here are three of our favorite RCBS Reloading videos, along with links to a dozen more:

Basic Safety Precautions for Reloading

Every novice hand-loader should watch this video. It covers the key safety principles you should follow, such as “Don’t use components of unknown origin”. We would add — always double check the labels on your powder bottles, and if you don’t know 100% what powder is in your powder measure — dump it out. Some of the most serious injuries have occurred when reloaders put pistol powder in rifle cases.

Setting Up the Sizing Die Correctly

This video address the common complaint some novices have when their hand-loadeed cartridges won’t chamber properly. Kent Sakamoto explains how to set up the sizing die properly to size the case body and bump the shoulder.

Choosing a Case Cleaning System

Here Kent Sakamoto looks at the three main types of brass cleaning systems: Vibratory Tumbler, Wet Tumbler (with media), and Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine. Kent reviews the pros and cons of each system.

More RCBS Reloading Videos

Here are twelve more helpful videos from RCBS. These cover both reloading techniques and reloading equipment. There are currently over 60 videos on the RCBS YouTube Channel.

Reloading How-To Videos
Case Trimming, Deburring, Chamfering
Measuring Case Length
Crimping — When and How to Crimp
Primer Pocket Cleaning
Priming with a Hand Tool
How to Use an Ultrasonic Machine

Reloading Equipment Videos
Rock Chucker Supreme Kit
RCBS ChargeMaster Lite
RCBS Pro 2000 Progressive Press
Universal Case Prep Center
Summit Single-Stage Press
RCBS Turret Press

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading Post comment »
February 17th, 2020

Bargain Finder 230: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Sportsman’s Warehouse — Primer SALE, 30-42% Off

primer sale

Finding primers is still tough and getting them on sale (at huge discounts) is even harder. But right now, for a limited time, you can save up to 42% on Major Brand primers at Sportsman’s Warehouse. All types of CCI, Federal, Remington, and Winchester primers are on sale, including hard-to-find Federal 205Ms and CCI 450s. And yes, pistol and shotshell primers are on sale too. These are GREAT prices — you should stock up now! NOTE: Some primers are limited to 10 boxes (1000 primers) per order.

2. Stocky’s — Special Edition Rem 700 Stocks, $228.88

remington stocks

The Remington 700 (and clones) collectively remain the number one receiver type on the market. If you’re looking to upgrade your Rem 700, Rem 7, or Rem clone, consider one of these Special Edition Remington 700™ Classic Deluxe Stocks from Stocky’s Stocks. They’re available in 14 colors/laminates, all with correct inletting for your Rem or Rem clone action. Stocky’s wood stocks are rugged and handsome.

3. Midsouth — .308 Win Berger Bullets+Brass Load Pack, $64.99

berger loader pack sale

For Palma and F-TR disciplines, the .308 Winchester remains the competitor’s cartridge of choice. If you need bullets and brass, check out these Berger Match Grade Loader Packs featuring Berger 155 grain .308 diameter VLDs and .308 Win ABM brass. (ABM stands for Applied Ballistics Munitions, which is now Berger Ammo). These 155gr Berger bullets are truly match grade and a smart choice for Palma work. At $64.99 for 100 bullets AND 100 pieces of brass, this is a great deal. You could pay a lot more than than just for premium brass. Plus this deal includes FREE Shipping.

4. MidwayUSA — 6.5 Creedmoor Remington 700 PCR, $699.99

remington pcr precison chassis rifle PRS sale

The new Remington Model 700 PCR (Precision Chassis Rifle) features a Rem 700 action in an aluminum chassis. This rifle features a free-floated 24″ 5R barrel with an aluminum handguard. The Magpul PRS Gen 3 stock adjusts for comb height and length of pull and the toe design works well in a rabbit-ear rear bag. Remington says these Model 700 PCRs are tested to yield sub-MOA accuracy out of the box. Right now this rifle, as chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, is discounted $200.00 to $699.99. That’s a fine deal for a capable precision/tactical rifle.

5. EuroOptic — Bushnell Nitro Scope Sale, Save Up to 54%

bushnell scope sale

Bushnell makes quality scopes with great features for very affordable prices. Right now EuroOptic offers Bushnell 4-16x44mm and 5-20x44mm Nitro scopes with savings up to 54%. These are rugged Mil/Mil FFP scopes with the excellent Deploy MRAD Reticle with 0.1 Mil clicks. Consider this — the 5-20X Nitro was a solid value at $649.99, and now it is just $299.00 — that’s a $350.00 savings! These is a good hunting/varminting scope with scratch-resistent EXO-coated lenses that repel water and dust.

6. Amazon — Rexbetti Digital Micrometer, $39.99

digital micrometer

We’ve listed deals on digital calipers, but the other important measuring device every hand-loader should have is a Digital Micrometer. These are critical for determining neck wall thickness and other dimensions not suitable for calipers. This Rexbetti Digital Micrometer is a nicely-crafted unit (for the price) that measures to 0.00005″/0.001 mm.

7. Cabela’s — Pelican Vault Handgun Cases, $29.97 and $49.97

pelican handgun case

Typical handgun cases are pretty flimsy with easy-to-defeat lock tabs and cheap foam. These Pelican Vaults are much higher quality, offering serious protection for your pistols. Right now Cabela’s is offering the V100 Small Handgun Case for $29.97 or the V200 Medium Handgun Case for $49.97. Both cases feature five layers of interior foam, are airline compliant, watertight, and have pressure relief valves. The V200 also features strong stainless steel locking hasps.

8. Brownells — Wipeout Foam Cleaner, $14.99

wipeout cleaner

Walking the firing line of the Berger SW Nationals this year, one cleaning product was mentioned over and over again and for good reason. Sharp Shoot R Wipe-Out foaming bore cleaner is a no-nonsense, easy-to-use bore cleaner that does a great job. We get best results with two applications of Wipe-Out after some wet patches. If you’re tired of long brushing sessions, give Wipe-Out a try — it really reduces brushing required. This is a great deal. The same 5 oz. can is $24.95 on Amazon.

9. Amazon — JMack’s Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs 50ct, $6.49

soft foam earplugs

Week after week we talk about the importance of good hearing protection. With this deal, you can pick up a 50-pair (100 ct) supply of 32 dB NRR soft foam earplugs for only $6.49 — a 40% savings. These plugs are comfortable and have a very impressive Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). For under seven bucks, you can get some serious protection, with plenty of “pairs to spare” for your shooting buddies and friends.

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February 17th, 2020

Team Lapua-Brux-Borden — Big Winners at Berger SW Nationals

Lapua brux borden Team Berger SW southwest Nationals SWN Jay Christopherson Tod Hendricks

Dominators — that’s what these blue-shirted guys were at the 2020 Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN). For the third straight year, Team Lapua-Brux-Borden won the coveted F-Open Team Grand Aggregate award at the Berger Southwest Nationals, finishing with a score of 2584-160X (out of a possible 2600). And Team Member Jay Christopherson (AccurateShooter’s System Admin) won the F-Open Overall title, while Team Member Tod Hendricks won the 600-yard Mid-Range Event. Mighty impressive…

Lapua brux borden Team Berger SW southwest Nationals SWN Jay Christopherson Tod Hendricks

Team members are Jay Christopherson, David Christian, Tod Hendricks, Pat Scully, and Jeremy Smith (alternate), with Bob Sebold serving as Coach and Erik Cortina as Captain. Remarkably Jay (1247-83X), Pat (1247-72X), and Tod (1245-81X) placed first, second, and third respectively in the F-Open Grand Aggregate individual awards. That’s right, three team-mates secured ALL the podium places. And all three were separated by only two points!

Record-Setting Performances by Team
Notably Team Lapua-Brux-Borden established a new Ben Avery range record along the way to winning the Palma Team Match with a score of 1791-113 (out of a possible 1800). We’re told that the Team’s 793-47X LR score was also a new match record. Jay set a LR Aggregate Record with 799-50X, while Tod set a LR individual relay record of 200-18X.

Berger SW Nationals 2020
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

Team Lapua-Brux-Borden — Winning “Team First” Philosophy
Commentary by Jay Christopherson
For Team Lapua-Borden-Brux, winning gold is the entire focus. To that end, ego is the only enemy. Sure, we all have egos as individual shooters, but as a team, ego is subsumed into that one overriding goal. If you can’t do that, then you can’t shoot on Lapua-Borden-Brux. No matter how good you think your rifle is or how well you are shooting individually, the coach is the only arbiter — no exceptions. Every job on the team is focused towards that single goal of gold and no job is more or less important than another. Our plotter saves points by spotting high or low trends and calling that out, and ensuring we don’t lose points when a scorer misses a shot. Our back-coach saves points by spotting upcoming condition changes or making observations. Our target-puller strives to provide an example of the best possible target service. And our scorer focuses on providing attentive service to the team next to us. A failure in one job is a failure in all and we either win or lose together as a team. That is only possible when each individual understands that there is only one goal.

The Berger Southwest Nationals, hosted by the Desert Sharpshooters Rifle Club, took place February 5-9, 2020 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, AZ with a sold-out roster of 400 competitors. America’s biggest rifle match west of the Mississippi, the Southwest Nationals is a “must-attend” event for long-range shooters competing in F-Open, F-TR, and Sling disciplines. Competitors from at least nine different countries were in attendance. The Grand Aggregate is the total score from firing points of 600, 800, 900, and 1,000 yards.

Lapua brux borden Team Berger SW southwest Nationals SWN Jay Christopherson Tod HendricksPraise from Team Captain
“I am very proud of the team”, stated Team Captain, Erik Cortina: “From setting a new range record to placing first in the F-Open Grand Aggregate, our success is directly attributed to Lapua’s premium components.”

About Lapua — Premium Brass, Bullets, and Ammunition
Lapua produces the highest-quality small caliber cartridges and components for civilian and professional use. Lapua is a part of the Capstone Precision Group, exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit Lapua.com.

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
February 17th, 2020

The Art of Arms — Holland & Holland’s Engraved Masterpieces

Holland and Holland Video gunsmithing

Here’s some eye candy for your Monday morning. We’re presenting some stunning Royal shotguns from Holland & Holland, a legendary British gun maker. These amazing arms, which cost as much as a luxury automobile, demonstrate that the “art of engraving” still thrives among a few elite gun-makers.

Holland and Holland Video gunsmithing

What goes into a £77,500.00 ‘Royal’ model hand-crafted shotgun? Watch this remarkable video from Holland & Holland to find out. Filmed in the Holland & Holland factory, this nine-minute video shows all the key stages in the creation of H&H’s prized shotguns and rifles. The video shows barrel-making, stock checkering, metal engraving and more…

Holland & Holland ‘Royal’ Side-by-Side Shotgun

Holland & Holland Double Rifle with Fitted Case
Holland and Holland Video gunsmithing

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February 16th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: .22 LR CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stock

Rimfire cross-training allows PRS competitors to build their skill sets without breaking the bank (or burning out nice custom barrels). One great .22 LR option for cross-training is offered by CZ (Česká Zbrojovka), the Czech arms-maker. The TFBTV video below spotlights the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer (VPT), a smooth-running .22 LR bolt action. This factory rifle was designed specifically as a training tool for precision long-range competition. It boasts a Manners composite stock and 20.5 or 24-inch heavy barrel. The 0.866″-diameter tube is threaded and suppressor-ready. The model 455 VPT is mag-fed and comes with a crisp trigger that adjusts to two pounds. Street price is around $830.00. That’s pricey for a rimfire — but you’re getting a premium Manners stock that would cost $534 by itself.

Field Testing the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

.22 LR Rimfire from 50 to 300 Yards
CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stockThe CZ 455 VPT proved accurate, recording half-inch groups at 50 yards with SK ammo: “[we] shot CCI standard, Federal match, and SK match through the rifle. It liked the SK ammo the best.” One goal of this test was to see how a .22 LR could perform beyond typical rimfire ranges, so reviewer Joel Wise (Precision Rifle Network) tested this rifle all the way out to 300 yards. Groups were about 1″ at 100 yards, but opened up considerably at 200 and 300. Joel concluded 300 yards was a practical max. We know that some tactical rimfire matches set targets out that far, but we think 200 yards might be a better practical limit for matches run with smallbore rifles. It’s not just the problem of running out of elevation in your scope. At 300 yards the effect of the wind is huge.

CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stock

The CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer (VPT) features a mag-fed CZ 455 action, with .866″-diameter heavy barrel, in a rigid, high-tech Manners Composite stock. Feeding was very reliable.

CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

The 455 VPT offers the same look and feel of a full-size tactical rifle. This 455 uses a Manners MCS-T4 stock assuring a rock solid platform for the 455 barreled action. The outer shell of the MCS-T4 is made with carbon fiber and fiber glass in multiple layers. The stocks can be custom-ordered with a heavy fill to match your current rifle weight to truly duplicate its feel.

Manners VPT Stock Available for Other Rimfire Platforms
Manners Composite Stocks offers versions of the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer stock design that can be used with other barreled actions: “The 455 VPT stock is based on our MCS-T4 design. We offer this, fully inletted with pillars, for a variety of rimfire actions: Sako Quad, Savage Mark II, CZ 452, CZ 453, along with the 455.”

CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

Inletting is complete, so this will be a drop-in solution if you already own one of the listed rimfire rifles. Tom Manners notes: “With this stock, some guys will bed the rear area of their action, but that’s not necessary — you can pretty much bolt ‘em in and go”.

New CZ 457 VPT Replaces 455 VPT — Major Action Changes

Readers take note — the CZ 455 VPT profiled above has been replaced with the new-generation CZ 457 Varmint Precision Trainer, which still boasts a Manners Composite stock, based on the PRS1 design with a more tapered forearm. The new 457 VPT has some very notable upgrades. First, the stamped bottom metal of the 455 is gone, swapped for a two-piece interlocking system. To make scope fitment easier, CZ ditched the 90° bolt rotation in favor of a 60° bolt, allowing for larger ocular bell diameters with lower ring heights. And the 457 VPT now features a trigger adjustable for weight, creep, and over-travel. MSRP for the new CZ 457 VPT is $1144.00, with street price around $990.00.

CZ 457 varmint precision tactical rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR  manners stock

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
February 16th, 2020

Double-Decker Shooting Ranges in USA, Switzerland, Netherlands

Double-Decker Florida Shooting Range Lotus

Bet you’ve never seen anything like this before — a “double-decker” indoor shooting range. Lotus Gunworks of Jensen Beach, Florida, operates a super-sized twin-level indoor shooting range featuring a two-story-high steel funnel bullet trap. Nicknamed the Lotus 8/11 for the number of steel panels used to create it (eight panels on the bottom slope and 11 panels on the top slope), this version of Action Target’s Total Containment Trap is the first of its kind. “No one has ever seen a range like this before” noted Lotus Gunworks’ Robbie Abell.

Double-Decker Florida Shooting Range Lotus

Abell came up with the two-story concept when it became clear that the new Lotus building in Jensen Beach was not wide enough for two side-by-side ranges AND a gun store. Necessity was the mother of invention… Lotus wanted at least two ranges, so the only option was to make a double-decker range where both levels shot into the same bullet trap.

Indoor ranges require ventilation to remove potentially hazardous dust and lead particles. The sheer size of the double-decker range presented a unique challenge, but Carey’s Small Arms Range Ventilation installed a system that can completely replace all the range air every 80 seconds.

Other Multi-Level Shooting Ranges

While the Lotus Range may have the first two-story bullet trap, it’s not really the first-ever double-decker indoor shooting range. Other multi-level ranges exist, they just don’t have the giant bullet trap. In fact, some of the multi-level ranges in Europe are bigger and even more sophisticated.

Brünig Indoor facility — Multi-Level Range Underground
Switzerland boats a popular shooting facility built completely underground. The large, deluxe Brünig Indoor facility includes a 300m underground range with multi-level shooting stations.

Brünig Indoor shooting range Tunnel Switzerland

This video shows centerfire rifle practice on the upper level of one of Brünig Indoor’s shooting tunnels:

Dutch Double-Decker Range
Here’s a Dutch Double-Decker Range. Check out Schietsportvereniging (SSV) Katwijk, a great twin-level range in Holland featuring electronic targets with displays at each shooting station (on both levels):

Holland SSV Katwijk

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February 16th, 2020

Target Dots — Buy ‘Em by the Thousand and Save

target dots sticker avery label flourescent dot labeloutfitters

Sometimes simpler is better when it comes to targets for fun shooting and load testing. While we normally use test targets from our Downloadable Target Page, it’s sometimes easier to just use brightly-colored “Hi-Viz” adhesive target dots.

Hi-Viz Stick-On Dots in Assorted Colors and Diameters
You can order 1″ target dots in bulk from Labeloutfitters.com. Many colors are available including fluorescent (hi-viz) Red, Green, Orange, and Yellow. These are bright and easy to see even in fading afternoon light. A pack of twenty (20) sheets (1260 dots total) costs just $5.97 (that works out to $4.74 per thousand). For the 1″-diameter stick-on dots you get 63 dots per sheet. Larger, 1.5″-diameter fluorescent dots are also available in 20-sheet packs for $5.97, with 24 large dots per sheet (480 dots total). If you want even bigger, 2″-diameter dots, sheets with 20 Hi-Viz dots per sheet are on sale for $5.97 per 20-pack (400 dots total).

Our friend Danny Reever really likes the bright dots from Label-Outfitters: “Ordered some of the 1″ dots from LabelOutfitters.com and received them in two days Priority Mail! Bought the fluorescent red,green, and yellow and they are really nice — especially for the price.”

If you prefer smaller, 3/4″-diameter circles, Amazon.com sells Avery packs with 1008 adhesive dots for just $4 to $7 per pack. Colors include Neon Red/Orange (item 5467), Neon Yellow (item 5470), Neon Green (item 5468), and Bright Blue (item 5461). We recommend the Neon Red/Orange for most uses, or the Neon Yellow dots for use on a black background. There is even a dispenser-box option with 1000 3/4″ dots on a roll in a box. Amazon.com also offers 3/4″ and 1″-diameter target pasters in 1000-dot rolls for $7-$10 per roll.

target dots sticker avery label flourescent dot labeloutfitters

Half-Inch Fluorescent Dots for 100-200 Yards
For close-range work, you may prefer 1/2″-diameter dots. Forum member Steve found a source for very small 1/2″ dots: Uline.com. The 1/2″ dots are available in a wide variety of colors including fluorescent Red, Pink, Yellow, and Green. Price is $12 for a roll of 1000 dots (item S-2063). Steve notes: “A 1/2″ circle at 300 yards is not quite entirely covered by Nightforce crosshairs at 42-power (I’d say 70% coverage). I.e., it seems easier to line up repeatedly than with the bigger (3/4″) circles, which I used to use. Note that, for me, neon green and neon orange work best on brown cardboard targets. Neon orange works well on white paper.”

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February 15th, 2020

Changes in Humidity Can Alter Powder Burn Rates — IMPORTANT

Tech Tip Norma Powder gunpowder moisture temperature humidity

Most shooters realize that significant changes in temperature will alter how powders perform. That’s why you want to keep your loaded ammo out of the hot sun, and keep rounds out of a hot chamber until you’re ready to fire. But there are other factors to be considered — HUMIDITY for one. This article explains why and how humidity can affect powder burn rates and performance.

We’ve all heard the old adage: “Keep your powder dry”. Well, tests by Norma have demonstrated that even normal environmental differences in humidity can affect the way powders burn, at least over the long term. In the Norma Reloading Manual, Sven-Eric Johansson, head of ballistics at Nexplo/Bofors, presents a very important discussion of water vapor absorption by powder. Johansson demonstrates that the same powder will burn at different rates depending on water content.

Powders Leave the Factory with 0.5 to 1.0% Water Content
Johansson explains that, as manufactured, most powders contain 0.5 to 1% of water by weight. (The relative humidity is “equilibrated” at 40-50% during the manufacturing process to maintain this 0.5-1% moisture content). Importantly, Johansson notes that powder exposed to moist air for a long time will absorb water, causing it to burn at a slower rate. On the other hand, long-term storage in a very dry environment reduces powder moisture content, so the powder burns at a faster rate. In addition, Johansson found that single-base powders are MORE sensitive to relative humidity than are double-base powders (which contain nitroglycerine).

Tests Show Burn Rates Vary with Water Content
In his review of the Norma Manual, Fred Barker notes: “Johansson gives twelve (eye-opening) plots of the velocities and pressures obtained on firing several popular cartridges with dehydrated, normal and hydrated Norma powders (from #200 to MRP). He also gives results on loaded .30-06 and .38 Special cartridges stored for 663 to 683 days in relative humidities of 20% and 86%. So Johansson’s advice is to keep powders tightly capped in their factory containers, and to minimize their exposure to dry or humid air.”

Confirming Johansson’s findings that storage conditions can alter burn rates, Barker observes: “I have about 10 pounds of WWII 4831 powder that has been stored in dry (about 20% RH) Colorado air for more than 60 years. It now burns about like IMR 3031.”

What does this teach us? First, all powders start out with a small, but chemically important, amount of water content. Second, a powder’s water content can change over time, depending on where and how the powder is stored. Third, the water content of your powder DOES make a difference in how it burns, particularly for single-base powders. For example, over a period of time, a powder used (and then recapped) in the hot, dry Southwest will probably behave differently than the same powder used in the humid Southeast.

Reloaders are advised to keep these things in mind. If you want to maintain your powders’ “as manufactured” burn rate, it is wise to head Johannson’s recommendation to keep your powders tightly capped when you’re not actually dispensing charges and avoid exposing your powder to very dry or very humid conditions. The Norma Reloading Manual is available from Amazon.com.

Real-World Example — “Dry” H4831sc Runs Hotter

Robert Whitley agrees that the burn rate of the powder varies with the humidity it absorbs. Robert writes: “I had an 8-lb. jug of H4831SC I kept in my detached garage (it can be humid there). 43.5-44.0 gr of this was superbly accurate with the 115 Bergers out of my 6mm Super X. I got tired of bringing it in and out of the garage to my house for reloading so I brought and kept the jug in my reloading room (a dehumidified room in my house) and after a few weeks I loaded up 43.5 gr, went to a match and it shot awful. I could not figure out what was going on until I put that load back over the chronograph and figured out it was going a good bit faster than before and the load was out of the “sweet spot” (42.5 – 43.0 gr was the max I could load and keep it accurate when it was stored in less humid air). I put the jug back in the garage for a few weeks and I now am back to loading 43.5 – 44.0 gr and it shoots great again. I have seen this with other powders too.”

If you have two jugs of the same powder, one kept in a room in your house and one somewhere else where it is drier or more humid, don’t expect the two jugs of the same lot of powder to chrono the same with the same charge weights unless and until they are both stored long enough in the same place to equalize again.

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February 15th, 2020

Great Guns: Smith & Wesson Model 617 Rimfire Revolver

Smith & Wesson 617

While Accurateshooter.com concentrates on high-accuracy rifles, we know that many of our readers enjoy handguns. We are often asked “What is your favorite handgun — Glock? HK? SIG Sauer?” The answer to that question may be surprising. This Editor’s favorite handgun, at least the one that gets shot most often, is a rimfire revolver — that’s right, a wheelgun.

This Editor’s first really accurate handgun was a .22 LR Smith & Wesson Model 617 that could easily stack ten shots in a dime at 10 yards. It remains my favorite and most-used handgun. What can we say about the Model 617? The single-action trigger pull is superb, and the accuracy surpasses most any semi-auto rimfire pistol, except for a few, very expensive target pistols. We like the 6″ version for the longer site radius, but the 4″-barrel 617 is also very accurate, and it balances better.

Smith Wesson model 617 .22 LR Revolver handgun
S&W Model 617 now has a 10-round cylinder, but early models were six-shooters.

We strongly recommend that new pistol shooters start off with a .22 LR rimfire handgun. The .22 LR cartridge is accurate but has very low recoil, less “bark” than a centerfire, and very little smoke and muzzle flash. New shooters won’t have to fight muzzle flip, and won’t develop a flinch from the sharp recoil and muzzle blast common to larger calibers. With the .22 LR, the trainee can focus on sight alignment, breathing, and trigger pull.

Smith & Wesson Model 617 Video Reviews
Here are three video reviews of the Smith & Wesson Model 617, both 4″-barrel and 6″-barrel versions. All three videos demonstrate the 617’s great accuracy. The reviewers concede that this handgun is pretty expensive, but all agree that the Model 617 will last a lifetime, and hold its value.

Hickok 45 Demos “Wonderful revolver”, a 4″ Model 617. See also Hickok 45 m617 Part 2:

Popular YouTube Host 22 Plinkster Tests Model 617 with 6″ Barrel:

22 Plinkster loves the Model 617, “one of [his] favorite revolvers in the whole entire world — a great choice”. He reports it “shoots straight [and] functions pretty much flawlessly” with nearly any .22 LR ammo. In this video, 22 Plinkster tests a wide variety of rimfire ammo types including CCI .22 LR Std Velocity, .22 Shorts, .22 LR Shotshells, .22 Stingers, .22 Super Colibri, and .22 LR tracers.

This Video Features the Smaller 4″-Barrel Model 617:

Other Rimfire Revolvers — from Ruger and S&W

If you’re considering a rimfire revolver but would like to see other options, read our Buyers Guide to Rimfire Revolvers. Along with the S&W Model 617, this covers the Ruger GP100 10-shot (5″ bbl), Ruger LCRx 8-shot (3″ bbl), Classic S&W Model 17 6-shot (blued 6″ bbl), and S&W Model 63 (3″ bbl).

TOP FIVE Reasons to Own a Rimfire Revolver:

1. Rimfire .22 LR Ammunition is once again plentiful and affordable. The revolver can shoot all kinds of rimfire ammo — even 22 Shorts.

2. A good, full-size .22 LR revolver will be MORE ACCURATE than the vast majority of semi-auto rimfire handguns. It will shoot all types of .22 rimfire ammo with no cycling issues. With no magazines to jam, a good wheelgun will also be more reliable than most self-loading rimfires.

3. A rimfire revolver can shoot tens of thousands of rounds, with just routine maintenance. The gun can last a lifetime and then be passed on to your kids.

4. On a S&W revolver, it is very easy to tune the pull weight. You can have a safe double-action pull with a very light, crisp single-action release.

5. It is easy to change grips and sights to suit your preference. You can also easily mount a scope on the top-strap.

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February 15th, 2020

Seven Ways to Save Money on Your Shooting Hobby in 2020

Money Saving Discount Codes Shooters Shopping Demo Optics

The true cost of living has risen significantly in recent years. Accordingly, it’s important to save money whenever possible. General prices are going up, health costs are rising significantly*, and the cost of components (bullets, brass, powder) continues to climb. To help you hang on to those hard-earned dollars, here are seven ways shooters can save money on gear purchases and other shooting-related expenses.

1. Watch for Our Deals of the Week. Every Monday, in our Daily Bulletin, AccurateShooter.com offers some of the best deals to be found. We search the web to find great deals on ammo, reloading components, optics, tools, firearms, gun safes, electronics and more. It’s not unusual to find savings of 20-35% through our Deals of the Week. And many of our vendors are now offering special deals just for AccurateShooter.com readers.

AccurateShooter deals of the week

2. Check Out the Forum Classifieds. There are great deals to be found every day in the AccurateShooter Shooters’ Forum. The latest deals are displayed in the right column of every Forum page. To see all the listings, browse through the Forum MarketPlace section which has four main categories:

  • Guns, Actions, Stocks, & Barrels
  • Tools, Dies, Rests, Reloading Components & Misc
  • Scopes, Optics, Sights, Rings, Bases Etc.
  • Commercial Sales by Paid Sponsors

3. Share a Ride to Matches. Fuel prices are on the rise — Mid-grade gasoline is nearly $4.00 per gallon in Southern California now and around $2.80/gallon nationwide. With many shooters living 30-100 miles from the nearest range, fuel remains a big part of a shooter’s hobby budget. We’d say 90% of shooters drive solo to matches, often in large, gas-guzzling trucks. If you drive 200 miles round-trip to attend a match in a 20-mpg vehicle, you’ll burn over $28.00 worth of gasoline on your trip. That adds up. By simply sharing the ride with one fellow shooter you cut your fuel expenditures in half. And, if you alternate vehicles with a buddy from one match to the next, you save on vehicle wear and tear. At $0.50/mile (overall operating costs) consider the savings.

4. Use Discount Codes to Save. It’s always smart to check for discount codes before you buy. In the Daily Bulletin, we feature “Deals of the Week” every Monday morning, and we provide discount Coupon Codes when available. These can reduce the price substantially or lower shipping costs. Search codes for Creedmoor Sports, Brownells, Sinclair Int’l, Cabela’s, MidwayUSA, and Precision Reloading. Check your email also — some discount codes are only announced in email newsletters. If you can’t find a Coupon Code for your preferred vendor, visit Gun.deals and/or RetailMeNot.com. Both those sites list current coupon codes, and RetailMeNot.com covers thousands of vendors.

5. Shop for “Demo” Optics. Modern high-quality optics can easily cost $1500.00 or more, often exceeding the value of the rifle on which they are mounted. However, you can often save 20-30% by purchasing demo optics. These are normally display units used at trade shows. They may have slight ringmarks, but otherwise they are “as new”, having never been carried in the field or used on a rifle that has fired live ammo. When purchasing demo scopes, you should always ask about the warranty before consummating the sale. However, most demo scopes from name-brand manufacturers come with full factory warranties. EuroOptic.com and SWFA.com are two respected vendors that offer a good selection of demo optics.

6. Train with Rimfire Rifles. The true cost of shooting a match-grade centerfire rifle, when you consider barrel wear along with bullets, powder, primers, and brass, can exceed $1.20 per round. READ Shooting Cost Article. By contrast, quality .22 LR target ammo sells for under $0.15 per round. Good rimfire barrels last a long, long time, so you don’t have to be concerned about wearing out your barrel quickly. A quality rimfire barrel can retain its accuracy for 10,000 rounds or more. If you run the ballistics, a .22 LR round at 100 yards can emulate the wind drift experienced by a centerfire cartridge at long range. This allows for effective cross-training with much less expensive ammo.

7. Take Advantage of Factory Rebates. Every year there are some attractive rebates available from quality manufacturers such as RCBS, Hornady, Savage, CCI, Federal, Nikon, and Remington. You’ll find rebates on rifles, pistols, optics, ammo, powder, bullets, reloading tools — you name it. Yes, many rebates are used to move less-popular merchandise. But some rebates apply to a very wide range of merchandise (perhaps with a dollar total minimum), so it’s hard to go wrong if you shop smart. Just make sure that, when you buy a product, you retain the sales slip and the original packaging (it’s also wise to print out online orders). To qualify for the rebate, you may need to mail in a product identification code found on the box, along with your original sales receipt.

* Since the adoption of Obamacare, there has been a huge increase in medical insurance costs for self-employed persons above a modest income level. Prior to Obamacare, this Editor was paying about $330/mo for Blue Shield insurance in California. Now my Blue Shield policy (similar coverage but with higher deductibles) is over $1350 per month — a 409% increase! And the office visit co-pay free has risen from $25.00 to $75.00, a 300% increase.

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February 14th, 2020

Get Smart — Read FREE Applied Ballistics TECH Articles

Want to improve your understanding of Ballistics, Bullet Design, Bullet Pointing, and other shooting-related tech topics? Well here’s a treasure trove of gun expertise. Applied Ballistics offers three dozen FREE tech articles on its website. Curious about Coriolis? — You’ll find answers. Want to understand the difference between G1 and G7 BC? — There’s an article about that.

“Doc” Beech, technical support specialist at Applied Ballistics says these articles can help shooters working with ballistics programs: “One of the biggest issues I have seen is the misunderstanding… about a bullet’s ballistic coefficient (BC) and what it really means. Several papers on ballistic coefficient are available for shooters to review on the website.”

Credit Shooting Sports USA Editor John Parker for finding this great resource. John writes: “Our friends at Applied Ballistics have a real gold mine of articles on the science of accurate shooting on their website. This is a fantastic source for precision shooting information[.] Topics presented are wide-ranging — from ballistic coefficients to bullet analysis.”

READ All Applied Ballistics Articles HERE »

Here are six (6) of our favorite Applied Ballistics articles, available for FREE as PDF files. There are 31 more, all available on the Applied Ballistics Articles Webpage.

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February 14th, 2020

PSA Valentine’s Day Sale — Guns, Ammo, Optics and More

Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale

Palmetto State Armory (PSA) is running a Valentine’s Day Sale with some great deals on rifles, pistols, rifle components, and optics. Some of these deals run for the next few days, while others expire at 11:59 pm on February 14, 2020.

Here are some of the best deals we found. The S&W 15-22 is a fun little gun and great for NRL-22 Matches. The Taurus G2C Pistol is a true bargain at $189.99. And the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8X scope is a versatile optic for both hunting and tactical use. Along with these 8 hot deals, there are 150+ other Valentine’s Day Sale items at PSA:

Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale
Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale
Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale
Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale
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February 13th, 2020

Brain Trust — Bryan Litz, Emil Praslick, and the AMP Team

Ultimate Reloader Video interview Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Berger Bullets Emil Praslick III AMP Annealing

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com was a busy man at SHOT Show 2020 in Las Vegas. He visited many leading vendors, and he also interviewed some of the most knowledgeable experts in the world of precision shooting. Today we present three important video interviews hosted by Gavin — the SHOT Show Brain Trust series.

First up is Bryan Litz, world-renowned ballistics expert and founder of Applied Ballistics LLC. The software developed by Bryan’s company is used by top competitive shooters and military marksmen. The second member of the Brain Trust is Emil Praslick III. Former Coach of the USAMU rifle team, Emil is considered to be one of the best wind-readers on the planet. Finally, we showcase a father and son team from New Zealand, Alex and Matt Finlay, developers of the Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) electrical induction annealing system.

Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics LLC.

This interview with Bryan Litz is a “must-watch” for any serious long-range shooter. Bryan, founder of Applied Ballistics LLC., explains many important ballistics concepts. In addition Bryan discusses bullet design qualities that can reduce drag, increase BC, and improve bullet-to-bullet consistency.

Emil Praslick (U.S. Army Ret.) of Capstone Precision Group

Emil Praslick III, former coach of USAMU and USA Long Range teams, has been hailed as a “wind guru” — a master of wind reading. Emil now works for Capstone Precision Group, Parent of Berger Bullets, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK. In this wide-ranging interview, Emil talks about wind-reading strategies, modern bullet designs, and ballistics challenges in Long Range shooting.

Alex and Matt Finlay of Annealing Made Perfect (AMP)

Father Alex and son Matt Finlay have brought break-through technology to the world of precision hand-loading. Their innovative AMP annealing machines are true “game-changers” that extend useful case life and improve loading consistency. The computer-controlled AMP MK 2 annealing system is the most advanced and precise annealer available for the general consumer.

Comment from Interviewer Gavin Gear
It’s an absolute privilege to have access to the “best in the business”. I have so much respect for these innovators: Bryan Litz and Applied Ballistics, Emil Praslick: King of 2 Mile winning team member (2017), and the Annealing Made Perfect team (Alex and Matt). In each case, there’s very interesting innovation happening, and I’ve applied much of what I’ve learned from these people into my daily work on UltimateReloader.com.

Credit: In top photo, brain graphic Designed by Yo_Han / Freepik.

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February 13th, 2020

Primers and Pressure Tolerances — How Primers Vary

Primer Pressure signs

by James Calhoon
(First Printed in Varmint Hunter Magazine, October, 1995)

Primers and Pressures

In the course of talking to many shooters, it has become clear to me that the manufacturers of primers have done a less than adequate job of educating reloaders on the application of their primers. Everybody seems to realize that some primers are “hotter” than others and some seem to shoot better for them than others, but few reloaders know that primers have different pressure tolerances.

Primer Pressure Tolerance
When loading a .223 to the maximum, I was getting primer piercing before I reached case overloading. I don’t know what prompted me to try CCI 450s instead of the 400s which I had been using, but I did. Presto! No more piercing! Interesting!? A primer that has a hotter ignition and yet withstands more pressure! Thats when I decided that it was time to do a dissection of all primers concerned. The chart below shows my results.

Primers and Pressures
NOTE: These primer dimensions were measured many years ago. There may be some differences in current production specifications.

By studying the numbers (Cup “A” thickness), one can see which primers in the small rifle sections should be more resistant to primer cratering and/or piercing. Primer cup diameters are all similar and appear to follow a specification, but check out the cup thickness in the small rifle primers (Dimension “A”). Some cups are quite a bit thicker than others: .025″ for CCI 450 vs. .0019″ for Fed 200. Large rifle primers all appear to have the same cup thickness, no matter what the type. (As a note of interest, small pistol primers are .017″ thick and large pistol primers are .020″ thick.)

If you are shooting a 22 Cooper, Hornet, or a Bee, the .020″ cup will perform admirably. But try using the .020″ cup in a 17 Remington and you will pierce primers, even with moderate loads.

Considering that cup thickness varies in the small rifle primers, it is obvious that primer “flatness” cannot solely be used as a pressure indicator.

Another factor which determines the strength of a primer cup is the work-hardened state of the metal used to make the primer cup. Most primers are made with cartridge brass (70% copper, 30% zinc), which can vary from 46,000 psi, soft, to 76,000 psi tensile strength when fully hardened. Note that manufacturers specify the hardness of metal desired, so some cups are definitely “harder” that others.

What does all this mean to the reloader?
- Cases that utilize small rifle primers and operate at moderate pressures (40,000 psi) can use CCI 400, Federal 200, Rem 6 1/2, or Win SR. Such cases include 22 CCM, 22 Hornet and the 218 Bee. Other cases that use the small rifle primer can use the above primers only if moderate loads are used. Keep to the lower end of reloading recommendations.

– Cases that utilize small rifle primers and operate at higher pressures (55,000 psi) should use CCI 450, CCI BR4, Fed 205 and Rem 7 1/2.

– All the large rifle primers measured have the same thickness. Therefore choose based on other factors, such as accuracy, low ES/SD, cost, cup hardness, and uniformity.

Hope this clears up some primer confusion. If you want more information about primers, priming compounds, or even how to make primers, the NRA sells an excellent book called “Ammunition Making” by George Frost. This book tells it like it is in the ammo making industry.

Jim Calhoon Products

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February 13th, 2020

CMP Western Games Return to Arizona in March

CMP rimfire sporter match western Games

The annual Western Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Travel Games (Western Games) will return in 2020 for another round of marksmanship events at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The week-long series of recreational vintage and modern rifle competitions will be held March 13-22, 2020 and is open to competitors of all ages and experience levels. NOTE: This is a major scheduling change — in recent years, the CMP Western Games were conducted in October. The new Spring schedule should allow cooler temperatures.

CMP rimfire sporter match western Games

Notably, Western Games matches on the High Power range will be fired on CMP electronic targets. That means less time in the pits, and faster cycling of relays.

Western CMP Games Program | Western Games Entry Form | Online Registration

Vintage Sniper Matches have become very popular
CMP rimfire sporter match western Games

The Western Games lineup is comprised of CMP Games matches such as the Garand, Springfield, Vintage Military, Modern Military, Rimfire Sporter, M1 Carbine, and Vintage Sniper matches as well as a series of CMP High Power (HP) Rifle Matches, which include three days of 80-Shot Aggregate competitions, a 4-Man Team event, and a Service Rifle EIC Match.

M1 Carbine Match at Western CMP Games
CMP M-1 Rimfire Carbine Citadel

There Is Always a Big Turn-out for Rimfire Sporter Matches
CMP rimfire sporter match western Games

Rifle Marksmanship 101 Training Class
For beginners and enthusiasts wanting to sharpen their marksmanship skills, a Rifle Marksmanship 101 class will also give participants insight into the fundamentals of safety and competition shooting. Participants work one-on-one with experienced CMP Rifle Master Instructors for classroom and hands-on training. Rifles and ammunition will be provided for the class. At the conclusion of training, students in the school will fire in a true M16 EIC Match, observed by instructors on the line.

CMP Western Games March Ben Avery Arizona

A CMP HP Clinic, conducted by experienced instructors, will be held for those wanting a closer, more detailed look at the sport. The clinic will include training that utilizes live-fire education on the firing line. Additionally, the scheduled M1 Maintenance Clinic is the perfect place to learn more about the inner workings of the classic rifle and ways to ensure its preservation.

electronic TargetsElectronic Targets for High Power Matches
High Power competitors at Ben Avery will have the opportunity to fire on the CMP’s modern traveling electronic target system. This Kongsberg system features special targets programmed with precision software that register the shot locations and score. In addition, beside each competitor on the firing line is a remote monitor that instantly displays shot scores.

The CMP electronic target system eliminates the need for doing pit duty — that saves time and aggravation for the shooters. The more efficient schedules allowed by the electronic targets give Western Games shooters more opportunities to fire additional disciplines because relays run much more quickly.

The CMP adds: “Trained CMP staff members will be present at all times to ensure safety and a great experience for all who attend the event. Join us for a week of competition, new experiences and fun!”

More information about the Western CMP Games and registration forms can be found by on the CMP website. The match is just one month away. If you’re interested you should Download the Entry Form and/or REGISTER ONLINE soon.

Schedule for Major CMP Events in 2020:

(Mark Your Calendars)

Western CMP Games & CMP HP Rifle Matches
March 13-22, 2020, Ben Avery Shooting Facility, Phoenix, AZ

Eastern CMP Games & CMP HP Rifle Matches
April 24 – May 3, 2020, Camp Butner, Butner, NC

CMP National Matches at Camp Perry
July 6 – August 8, 2020, Camp Perry, Port Clinton, OH

New England CMP HP Rifle & CMP Games Matches
September 14-20, 2020, Camp Ethan Allen, Jericho, VT

Oklahoma CMP HP Rifle & CMP Games Matches
October 12-18, 2020, Oklahoma City, OK

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February 12th, 2020

Mauser 18 Named American Rifleman’s 2020 Rifle of the Year

Mauser 18 Rifle of Year golden bullseye NRA American Rifleman

This caught us by surprise — NRA’s American Rifleman Rifle of the Year is not a Ruger, not a Weatherby, not a Savage. It is a made-in-Germany Mauser. That’s noteworthy. The Mauser 18 bolt-action rifle has been named 2020 Rifle of the Year by the editors of American Rifleman magazine, as part of the NRA’s annual Golden Bullseye Awards. READ Mauser 18 FULL REVIEW.

Mauser 18 Bolt-Action Rifle is Rifle of the Year
How did the Mauser 18 win top honors? The American Rifleman says it’s because this rifle offers excellent “accuracy and ruggedness at an exceptional price point”. The Mauser 18 is available in both short action and long action types, with a wide variety of chamberings, making it suitable for nearly all types of hunting — from varmints to Big Game. The Mauser 18 is available in .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .270 Win, 7mm Rem Mag, .308 Win, .30-06, and .300 Win Mag. The Mauser 18 is relatively light — rifle weight without optics is 6.4 lbs (standard) and 6.6 lbs (Magnum).

In announcing the M18’s selection, the American Rifleman stated: “…At an MSRP of $699, the Mauser M18 is priced a bit higher than most competing models, but well below any new-production Mauser since the height of the Cold War. While rifles in this class are typically spartan, the M18 offers a few extras along with better-than-expected test results. Purists who can’t separate the brand from its full-length-extractor/controlled-round-feed legacy won’t be fans, but hunters seeking an affordable rifle with reasonable expectations of Mauser performance and durability, likely will be.”

Mauser 18 Rifle of Year golden bullseye NRA American Rifleman

The Mauser 18 features a synthetic stock with a classic American hunter profile (like a Remington 700 stock). There are rubberized grip inlays. The steel receiver has a 3-lug bolt for shorter bolt throw. The rifle boasts a 3-position safety allows hunters to safely carry a round in the chamber without fear of the bolt being nudged out of battery. A five-round magazine offers ample capacity for follow-up shots. The Mauser 18 also features an adjustable trigger allows you to set your own preferred pull weight.

Mauser 18 Rifle of Year golden bullseye NRA American Rifleman

“The Mauser 18 was introduced as ‘The People’s Rifle’, and it has been embraced by hunters throughout the world who want a rugged, reliable, and accurate rifle at a great price. To be recognized as the 2020 American Rifleman Rifle of the Year further validates how exceptional this rifle is in its category.” said Jason Evans, CEO, Blaser Group.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product, News 7 Comments »
February 12th, 2020

Six Tips for Better Results at Local Fun Shooting Matches

tip advice training prep club varmint groundhog match

Every summer weekend, there are probably 400 or more club “fun matches” conducted around the country. One of the good things about these club shoots is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on equipment to have fun. But we’ve seen that many club shooters handicap themselves with a few common equipment oversights or lack of attention to detail while reloading. Here are SIX TIPS that can help you avoid these common mistakes, and build more accurate ammo for your club matches.

Benchrest rear bag1. Align Front Rest and Rear Bags. We see many shooters whose rear bag is angled left or right relative to the bore axis. This can happen when you rush your set-up. But even if you set the gun up carefully, the rear bag can twist due to recoil or the way your arm contacts the bag. After every shot, make sure your rear bag is aligned properly (this is especially important for bag squeezers who may actually pull the bag out of alignment as they squeeze).

Forum member ArtB adds: “To align my front rest and rear bag with the target, I use an old golf club shaft. I run it from my front rest stop through a line that crosses over my speed screw and into the slot between the two ears. I stand behind that set-up and make sure I see a straight line pointing at the target. I also tape a spot on the  golf shaft that indicates how far the back end of the rear bag should be placed from the front rest stop. If you don’t have a golf shaft, use a wood dowel.

2. Avoid Contact Interference. We see three common kinds of contact or mechanical interference that can really hurt accuracy. First, if your stock has front and/or rear sling swivels make sure these do NOT contact the front or rear bags at any point of the gun’s travel. When a sling swivel digs into the front bag that can cause a shot to pop high or low. To avoid this, reposition the rifle so the swivels don’t contact the bags or simply remove the swivels before your match. Second, watch out for the rear of the stock grip area. Make sure this is not resting on the bag as you fire and that it can’t come back to contact the bag during recoil. That lip or edge at the bottom of the grip can cause problems when it contacts the rear bag. Third, watch out for the stud or arm on the front rest that limits forward stock travel. With some rests this is high enough that it can actually contact the barrel. We encountered one shooter recently who was complaining about “vertical flyers” during his match. It turns out his barrel was actually hitting the front stop! With most front rests you can either lower the stop or twist the arm to the left or right so it won’t contact the barrel.

3. Weigh Your Charges — Every One. This may sound obvious, but many folks still rely on a powder measure. Yes we know that most short-range BR shooters throw their charges without weighing, but if you’re going to pre-load for a club match there is no reason NOT to weigh your charges. You may be surprised at how inconsistent your powder measure actually is. One of our testers was recently throwing H4198 charges from a Harrell’s measure for his 30BR. Each charge was then weighed twice with a Denver Instrument lab scale. Our tester found that thrown charges varied by up to 0.7 grains! And that’s with a premium measure.

4. Measure Your Loaded Ammo — After Bullet Seating. Even if you’ve checked your brass and bullets prior to assembling your ammo, we recommend that you weigh your loaded rounds and measure them from base of case to bullet ogive using a comparator. If you find a round that is “way off” in weight or more than .005″ off your intended base to ogive length, set it aside and use that round for a fouler. (Note: if the weight is off by more than 6 or 7 grains you may want to disassemble the round and check your powder charge.) With premium, pre-sorted bullets, we’ve found that we can keep 95% of loaded rounds within a range of .002″, measuring from base (of case) to ogive. Now, with some lots of bullets, you just can’t keep things within .002″, but you should still measure each loaded match round to ensure you don’t have some cases that are way too short or way too long.

Scope Ring5. Check Your Fasteners. Before a match you need to double-check your scope rings or iron sight mounts to ensure everything is tight. Likewise, you should check the tension on the screws/bolts that hold the action in place. Even on a low-recoiling rimfire rifle, action screws or scope rings can come loose during normal firing.

6. Make a Checklist and Pack the Night Before. Ever drive 50 miles to a match then discover you have the wrong ammo or that you forgot your bolt? Well, mistakes like that happen to the best of us. You can avoid these oversights (and reduce stress at matches) by making a checklist of all the stuff you need. Organize your firearms, range kit, ammo box, and shooting accessories the night before the match. And, like a good Boy Scout, “be prepared”. Bring a jacket and hat if it might be cold. If you have windflags, bring them (even if you’re not sure the rules allow them). Bring spare batteries, and it’s wise to bring a spare rifle and ammo for it. If you have just one gun, a simple mechanical breakdown (such as a broken firing pin) can ruin your whole weekend.

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February 12th, 2020

SAVE MONEY — AmmoSeek Finds Best Ammo Prices

Ammoseek search engine ammuntion reloading supplies

Here’s a great search service that can help you locate hard-to-find ammunition and reloading components — while saving money in the process. Ammoseek.com monitors more than a dozen online vendors — checking current pricing and available inventory, for pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammunition. Looking for .22 LR ammo for your rimfire trainer or .45 acp ammo for your 1911? Just select the cartridge type from the “Quick Seek” list on the right. Likewise you can find .223 Rem and .308 Win Rifle ammo with one click.

Ammoseek search engine ammuntion reloading supplies skagit arms WA
Got Ammo? Here’s just part of the vast inventory at Skagit Arms in Washington State.

Find .22 LR Ammo Quickly
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Story Tip by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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February 11th, 2020

Shooting USA TV Features 2019 Bianchi Cup This Week

2019 NRA Bianchi Cup Columbia MO Action Pistol Championship
Jessie Harrison is a multi-time Bianchi Cup Ladies’ Division Champion.

Bianchi Cup Pistol MatchThis week’s edition of Shooting USA, which airs Wednesday, February 12, features the NRA Bianchi Cup. This competition is one of the most prestigious and popular events in the world of handgun shooting. Officially, the annual competition in Columbia, Missouri is known as the National Championship of NRA Action Pistol. But to everybody, world-wide, it’s the Bianchi Cup, the trophy named for one of the founders, John Bianchi. In the past 30 years the match has become the richest handgun tournament in the world, with cash and prizes for the best scores on four stages of fire. Shooting USA will spotlight top male and female Bianchi Cup competitors in both wheelgun and and semi-auto pistol divisions. Along with North American shooters, the Bianchi Cup draws top handgun competitors from around the globe. Shooting USA airs Wednesday nights, on the Outdoor Channel, at 9:00 pm Eastern and Pacific, and 10:00 pm Central.

CLICK HERE to Preview Shooting USA Episodes »

John Scoutten and his team report the action from the Bianchi Cup. This year shooters from as far away as Australia, New Zealand, and Japan traveled to Columbia, Missouri in search of the perfect 1920 match score. Each round is the aggregate of the four (4) fired events: Practical, Barricade, Falling Plate, and Moving Target Events. Each of the four events requires 48 shots to complete. 480 points possible on each event. Three of the four are scored on the NRA tombstone P1 target. You must hit in the 10-ring or inner X-Ring on EVERY shot to shoot a “clean” 1920.

Bianchi Cup Pistol Doug Koenig 2017

27 Years ago Doug Koening set the standard with a 1920. Since then, every Open shooter knows that he or she must “clean” this match (i.e. score a “1920”) to have a chance to take the title of “Champion”. The X-Count is the tie-breaker.

Bianchi Cup Pistol Doug Koenig 2017
Here are the top four women shooting the Practical Event during the Colt Championship Final in 2017. From top: 2017 Bianchi Women’s Champion Cherie Blake, third place SFC Katie Bahten, second place Anita Mackiewicz, and fourth place Jessie Duff. Shooting Sports USA Photo

In this video, 18-Time Bianchi Cup Winner Doug Koenig demonstrates Fast Follow-up Shots

Bianchi Cup — Classic Course of Fire
The MidwayUSA/NRA Bianchi Cup is a combination of Speed and Accuracy. Competitors shoot from both standing and prone positions and are also required to shoot with both strong and weak hands at various stages. Stages may combine stationary and moving targets. As conceived by former police officer and holster-maker John Bianchi, the Bianchi Cup originated in 1979 as a Law Enforcement Training match. The Course of Fire consists of four separate matches:

  • The Practical Event: From the appropriate shooting line, the shooter fires at distances from 10 yards to 50 yards under varying time limits.
  • The Barricade Event: From within shooting boxes and behind barricades, a shooter fires at targets on either side of the barricade at different distances and under varying time limits.
  • The Falling Plate Event: From the appropriate shooting line, the shooter fires at 8 inch round steel plates arranged in banks of six at distances from 10 to 25 yards under varying time limits.
  • The Moving Target Event: From within shooting boxes at distances ranging from 10 to 25 yards, the shooter fires at a target moving from left to right with the target being exposed for only 6 seconds.

Due to the high accuracy required in each stage of the Bianchi Cup, the tournament is widely considered one of the most difficult handgun championships on the planet.

Bianchi Cup Revolver

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